Journalism

New Study: There May Be Hope For Fox News Viewers, If They Stop Watching Fox News

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln ...

A new study suggests that when regular Fox News viewers spend some time watching different sources for their news, their heads may at least temporarily become less full of shit. Or at least that's our vernacular translation of the preprint study titled "The manifold effects of partisan media on viewers’ beliefs and attitudes: A field experiment with Fox News viewers," by political scientists David E. Broockman of UC Berkeley and Joshua L. Kalla of Yale. It's available to read for free at the Center for Open Science.

The researchers used data from a media analytics company to identify people who regularly watched Fox News, then had 304 out of the group of 763 participants watch at least seven hours a week of primetime CNN programming for most of September 2020, while the rest of the participants served as a control group, continuing to watch Fox. As an incentive, the folks selected to watch CNN were paid $15 for each hour they watched, and to ensure they actually watched the programming on any given evening, they had to answer simple quiz questions about the programs they saw, like identifying a guest or a topic discussed on the show.

Broockman and Kalla write in the paper's abstract that

Despite regular Fox viewers being largely strong partisans, we found manifold effects of changing the slant of their media diets on their factual beliefs, attitudes, perceptions of issues’ importance, and overall political views.

The changes they observed stemmed at least partly from what they call "partisan coverage filtering, wherein partisan outlets selectively report information, leading viewers to learn a biased set of facts." As a result of watching CNN, for instance, study participants became more likely to believe that Fox News wouldn't report negative information about Donald Trump. The participants remained highly conservative in their views, and after the study ended, they mostly went back to only watching Fox.

The study seems to contradict one major bit of conventional wisdom on how partisan beliefs affect the way people deal with contrasting information. Instead of rejecting "information contrary to their partisan loyalties and from opposing sources," the study participants, all "highly engaged partisans," actually "could be persuaded by viewing opposition partisan media instead of their own" — at least during the duration of the study, while they watched CNN instead.


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Right Wing Extremism

Your Weekly Dose Of GOP Non-Answers And BS, Courtesy Of The Sunday Shows!

We watch so you don't have to.

The Republican Party has long given up on governance or the appearance of even trying. It's so plain that even when they publicly confess that truth, it's met with a shrug rather than any pushback.

Translation: We have no agenda other than obstructing like it's 2008!

It's nevertheless infuriating when the GOP tries to cover its bullshit with a thin veneer of legitimacy.

Roy Blunt on ABC's 'This Week'

A great example of this is GOP Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, who got his own dedicated Wonkette post about this earlier today. Blunt was asked about where he stood on the upcoming vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Blunt decided to pretend he just really wanted to be a part of this historic moment, but just couldn't vote for this particular person:

BLUNT: Really, there are two criteria, I said immediately. One is, is the person qualified for the job? And two is, what's her judicial philosophy?

She's certainly qualified. [...] But the judicial philosophy seems to be not the philosophy of looking at what the law says and the Constitution says and applying that, but going through some method that allows you to try to look at the Constitution as a more flexible document, and even the law. And there are cases that show that that’s her view. [...] And I won't be supporting her but I'll be joining others in understanding the importance of this moment.

If only the very qualified Judge Jackson had answered that question about her judicial philosophy. Oh wait. We guess Blunt just missed it during the confirmation hearings or when it was reported by The Wall Street Journal or Slate or The New York Times or Des Moines Register. I'm sure once Sen. Blunt's staff does a quick Google search, he'll get right on confirming Judge Jackson.

Right? Right?

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Journalism

Mitch McConnell Kills Year-Round School Meals. Politico Blames 'Congress.' Go F*ck Yourself Politico :)

Go fuck yourself from both sides, for that matter.

When Congress passed the great big omnibus spending bill earlier this month, there was one item that we just barely noticed at the time. The bill funds the US government for the rest of fiscal 2022 — that is, through September — but one item it didn't include was an extension of the federal program that waived eligibility requirements for school meals, so any family that wanted the meals could sign up, year round, regardless of income. Without the extension, the old eligibility requirements will kick back in place on June 30. Yes, while the pandemic is still with us.

That's actually a pretty significant loss for low-income families, since the USDA waiver program, part of the pandemic relief packages going back to the very first one, provided school meals to an additional 10 million kids per day.

Schools and nutrition advocates had been expecting the program to be extended at least a year (and there's a good case to be made that universal school meals should be permanent, like in some kind of civilized country). So what kept that from happening? As Politico reported earlier this month, there's a real simple reason: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was absolutely opposed to the extension. As a "GOP leadership aide" explained to Politico, the idea was to get control of government spending and return schools to "normal." In Republican-speak, that means free school lunches must be a mark of shame, not something families should rely on.

Also, it was absolutely vital to not spend the $11 billion the extension would have cost, because fiscal responsibility starts with hungry kids.

Not that you'd necessarily know that killing off the school meal funding was entirely McConnell's doing, because Politico had to go and muddy the waters. Instead of headlining the piece "Free school meals end due to McConnell opposition," Politico framed it as if there were many people responsible for the elimination of the waiver program: "Finger-pointing ensues after Congress fails to extend universal school meals." As journalist David Roberts tweeted in an excellent thread on the Politico fiasco,

"Finger-pointing ensues." What? McConnell did it! You can argue over his reasons, but everyone acknowledges he did it! Only one finger need point, in one direction, FFS!
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Politics

The Bad, The Worse And The 'Grim Reaper'

It's your Sunday show rundown!

It was a cavalcade of conservatives on the Sunday shows, as it so often is, with two topics dominating: Ukraine and the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

So let's just dive right in!

The Bad: Rep. Liz Cheney on 'Meet The Press'

Liz Cheney has received a lot of praise for clearing the very low bar of not supporting insurrection attempts. But as we've said many times, There is no "good Republican." Cheney proves it here when Chuck Todd lobs a softball about whether the current war on Ukraine and the January 6th investigation make in her hindsight regret her vote to not impeach Donald Trump the first time around.

CHENEY: [.H]aving sat through, watching the hearings, watching the evidence that was put on for the first impeachment, at the end of the day, the evidence that was put on didn't make the case.

Translation: I was the third ranking Republican in the House leadership back then. Despite clear evidence of using military aid to extort Ukraine and snubbing President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the time because they wouldn't provide fantasy dirt on a political opponent, I chose party over country.

Again: No good Republicans.

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